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Old 02-05-2013, 07:09 AM   #1
StormStrikes
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My First Commute

I decided today it was going to be warm enough for me to make a commute to and from work on my bike. Where I work they have 'bike lockers' where I can lock my bike up and its enclosed and all. So I signed up for one and decided it was time I make use of it.

The problem I started with is that I usually carry a back pack with me that has notes, book or two, papers for projects Im working on and so forth. Its a back pack meant for carrying a 17" laptop so its kinda heavier than the usual. Then I carry my food to work with me as well. So I had to cram all that in there, minus the laptop for now, and my dress shoes. The thing probably weighs 15lbs or a bit more fully loaded.

I wasnt sure how that would all go, but once I strapped it on and got to riding it wasnt too bad though it definitely makes you work harder it seems. It was in the low 60's when I left for work and I thought it probably would not drop out of the 40's for my return, which Im comfortable riding in. I missed that mark though. It was 35* when I left work at midnight.

That made for a rather chilly ride home. My lights worked well and I was able to see the road well in the areas that were not lit by street lights though I moderated my pace some because of the cooler temps and not sure what hazards (pot holes, bumps, etc.) that I would run into. Which Im happy to report there were none.

Its about 7.25 miles round trip, so Im hoping that I can eventually use it for some sprinting as I get used to it. Though I think I am going to buy some kind of rack to put on the back to carry a bag or something so I dont have the back pack on me.

Its going to be interesting commuting back and forth, fun but interesting. I take a longer way to work (by about a mile) so as to avoid the busier road during the afternoon hours. But I take that shorter road when I come back home because there is little to no traffic then and it has street lights on most of it.

I do need to find something to cuff up my pants legs though instead of the electrical tape I used today. Something that will be reflective too just for some added visibility. A few cars passed me but gave me no issues, but my arms were plenty cold. Thank God I bought some full finger gloves.



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Old 02-05-2013, 07:18 AM   #2
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Yeah ... we get a lot of 30-35 degree weather, generally damp and overcast ... makes for some not so comfy riding. When the sun is out, I ride when I can. Looking forward to some warmer weather here.

I used to commute when I lived in Hawaii. I didn't wear cleats, so I didn't have to carry extra shoes, but still had to have a backpack to carry stuff. I've got a couple of reflective pant straps that I got from an LBS that work well and were cheap.

Good for you!



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Old 02-05-2013, 11:56 AM   #3
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academy sells a lighted pant leg strip. it lights up that bright orange and slips over your shoe and around your pant. push the little button and you have a moving light in the middle of your bike every time you pedal now

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Old 02-05-2013, 12:20 PM   #4
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For your pants there's a few things, "Ankle Biters" are about $2 and have a relflective strip.

Fro your carrying requirements, try the Arkel Randonneur Rack and bag; SWMBO picked it up for me for Christmas after I was pining away for it.

My interwebz is not too compliant at the moment, I'll post a link of Xela's review on Industry Outsider as soon as I am able.

It's a great product and sooooo much more pleasant to use as opposed to a bag on your body.

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Old 02-05-2013, 12:29 PM   #5
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I've posted about making your own platform adaptors, before. All you need is some old cleats and some 5/8" plywood or 1/4" aluminum plate cut to the size of platform pedals and some non-skid bathtub tape. You can clip those in your pedals, and use them as platforms so you won't need to change pedals or carry and extra pair of shoes. When you aren't commuting, detach them and you have your clipless pedals back. If you use SPD pedals, you can buy or order them from your LBS. They are called Decksters and are made by a company named Woodward. However, they only make them for SPD pedals.

Almost any LBS should carry reflective ankle straps. They just velcro around your pants leg and you're set to go. I think I paid around $4.00 for the ones I have.

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Old 02-05-2013, 01:06 PM   #6
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Are we haveing fun yet

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Old 02-05-2013, 05:19 PM   #7
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Well done, Stormy! Good for you, making the bike commute happen. I enjoyed your account of the ride, and hope you're able to work the logistics and equipment issues out to your satisfaction. I definitely recommend panniers over a backpack.
I really want to commute on my bike, but at ~25mi each way, I've really got to increase my average speed before cycling to work is a viable option for me. Frustrating, but it'll happen eventually.

to you, sir! I hope you get to enjoy many more commuting miles going forward.

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Old 02-05-2013, 05:24 PM   #8
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Kudos on your commute Stormy. I have been exploring riding to the bus station then riding to work and doing the reverse home. It may not work well, but Ill still do my homework.

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Old 02-05-2013, 05:49 PM   #9
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Leafykins-

Every journey starts with the first step, you know? Is getting up earlier feasible to make this work for you?


I have to get up an hour earlier for it to work, but it is paid back for in dividends.....

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Old 02-05-2013, 06:21 PM   #10
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Thank you all for your comments and suggestions on the leg cuffs. I will have to make the trip down to the LBS or Academy and get me a pair.

I wont be commuting tonight though, its supposed to be down in the 20's when I get off and Im just not set up clothing wise for that so I will end up driving today unfortunately.

I had found at one point, a rack that had with it a bag that could be removed and had a strap so it could be carried over the shoulder like and if I remember correctly was specifically for carrying a laptop and looked to have plenty of room in it for my food and other things. Of course now I cannot find it. So kneedrachen if you find that link please post it up but I will check Industry Outsider and see what I can find as well.

John, I read your write up on the platform pedals. I just got too lazy to make a pair up as you had shown how. I carried my work shoes only because I wasnt sure how comfortable the bike shoes I bought would be. However, surprisingly, they arent that bad. I bought MTB shoes that are very nice and even look good enough to be used around work. The only thing I noticed last night is walking from the bike locker to my office area, I was walking on the cleats some. Despite the raised area around the cleats, it was still hitting on the sidewalk. I can by spares of course, but I would like to find some cleat covers. I do use the SPD pedals with the two bolts so perhaps the Deckers would work.

I absolutely had a blast riding to work. Even though the return trip was a bit cooler than I would have liked, it was manageable. When it warms up more I will be able to change into my workout clothes and ride straight to the gym after work instead of going home to change and then to the gym.

The distance is short enough I think I will be able to use it as a sprinting workout. It took me 20 minutes to get to work yesterday and that was with two traffic lights and three stop signs over a 4.2 mile distance. When I come home its just a little over three miles and under 15 minutes to get there. So its not bad now, when it gets warmer we will see how that all goes.



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